BANGKOK, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- Foreigners are banned from possessing and using guns in Thailand after the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) passed amendments to the Weapon, Firearm, Explosive and Firework Act Thursday.
According to the newly amended law, only Thais can register guns with authorities. Previously, foreigners residing in Thailand could apply for gun ownership.
Owning a firearm in Thailand has been legal since 1947. The Act Controlling Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, Fireworks and Imitation of Firearms only allows people to obtain licenses to own guns for the purposes of self-defense, protection of property, sports or hunting. But it did not mention that applicants must be Thai nationals.
The new law also brings stricter control on weapon silencers fireworks and electrics darts.
Offenses under the law could face a jail term of one to 20 years.
The new law will become effective after it is promulgated in the Royal Gazette.
Thailand has a high per capita gun murder rate with 7.48 registered gun deaths per 100,000 people. The rate is twice as high as that of the United States, which had 3.55 deaths per 100,000 people in 2013, according to data provided by the University of Washington's Institute for Health and Metric Evaluation.